Everyone understands desperation ∙
I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation. – Psalm 13:5
1 O LORD, how long will you forget me? Forever? How long will you look the other way?
2 How long must I struggle with anguish in my soul, with sorrow in my heart every day? How long will my enemy have the upper hand?
3 Turn and answer me, O LORD my God! Restore the sparkle to my eyes, or I will die.
4 Don’t let my enemies gloat, saying, “We have defeated him!” Don’t let them rejoice at my downfall.
5 But I trust in your unfailing love, your lovingkindness. I will rejoice because you have rescued me.
6 I will sing to the LORD because he is good to me.
“The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation. What is called resignation is confirmed desperation. From the desperate city, you go into the desperate country and have to console yourself with the bravery of minks and muskrats. A stereotyped but unconscious despair is concealed even under what are called the games and amusements of mankind” (Henry David Thoreau).
“Nowadays, most men lead lives of noisy desperation” (James Thurber).
When you are desperate, what should you do?
“When you’re at the end of your rope, tie a knot and hold on” (Theodore Roosevelt).
David had a better idea. He often experienced frustration, fear, despair, and desperation. But he worked his way through it.
Over time he learned how to trust in the Father in all circumstances, even when he felt abandoned and alone. He was confident in the Father’s unfailing love. He acquired the habit of rejoicing in the midst of his difficult circumstances. – Psalm 13:5
When it seems our back is up against the wall, and we grow weary because of the unceasing challenges that life throws us, we often start to question. We question our own worth and identity. We question the faithfulness and loyalty of those around us. But most of all, we have serious questions and doubts about the Father’s love and involvement in our lives. Is He really there for us? So often, we ask, “Where is God while my life is falling apart? Why has God abandoned me?” (Johnston).
And so it was with David. Four times David entreats and challenges, “How long?”
How long will you forget me?
How long will you look the other way?
How long must I struggle with anguish in my soul?
How long will my enemy have the upper hand?
How long do you ask the Father, “How long?”
David felt ignored and neglected, forsaken, and downcast. He was seeking the Father, but, in his despair, he began to think that the Father was hiding from him.
This is one of the strange things that the Father seems to do. As we grow and develop spiritual maturity, we get used to it and realize what it is all about as part of the maturation process. “At times we might feel as though God has slammed the door to heaven in our face. Yet these times do not last. Often, He is testing us to see if we will continue to follow Him, regardless” (Stanley).
Eventually, most of our questions are answered, gaining perspective and understanding. We gain wisdom that can only be obtained through periods of isolation.
REFLECT & PRAY
David is frustrated and questions the Father. But then a transformation occurs. And his questions become prayers. And his prayers become worship. Remarkable
Father, thank You that there is nothing wrong with asking questions. Encourage me to allow my questions to become worship, praise, and confidence.
Most everyone understands and can identify with David’s desperation and doubts. Desperation has been with the human race since the time of the Fall. It is part of the curse. We live in a fallen world, and we are fallen creatures. But not everyone has found genuine help by turning to the living God, our heavenly Father. When we find ourselves in desperate, lonely situations, David shows us the way to find hope when there seems to be none.
“The Christian life thrives on both memory and hope. We remember how God has shown us mercy in the past, and so we look forward to how He will save us in the future” (Stanley).
However great the pressure, the choice is still ours to make, not the enemy’s. The Father never changes; His lovingkindness is everlasting. David “entrusts himself to this pledged love and turns his attention not to the quality of his faith but to its object and its outcome, which he has every intention of enjoying. David’s certainty, faith exercised, looks back at the whole way he has been led” (Kidner).
Do not be afraid of asking difficult questions. The Father already knows what is in your heart. He patiently and lovingly hears them all, even when you are angry. Often a miraculous transformation takes place as we transition from doubt to confidence. Voicing our doubts often becomes a spiritual catharsis. And we are set free from our desperation and isolation.
© Dr. H 2022